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Raspberry lemon cheesecake is perfection. It’s smooth and creamy, delicately flavored, and classic. And while it takes a bit of advance prep, it’s easier than you may think. Don’t miss it.

raspberry lemon cheesecake
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Why we love this recipe, and why it works

This just-right cheesecake recipe is creamy, satisfyingly but not absurdly dense, flavored with hints of vanilla and lemon, and not overly sweet.

A gentle raspberry swirl and a touch of extra lemon flavor are the casual dress that make this version a little extra special. The raspberry augments the flavors without overpowering.

This recipe works because:

  • Having the ingredients at room temperature helps them mix together smoothly.
  • A little bit of sour cream and a touch of lemon add the subtlest tart dimension to the mix.
  • Baking at a low temperature in a water bath and then leaving the cake in the oven results in a perfectly creamy, evenly baked filling.
  • Chilling the cake overnight after cooling completely allows you to slice it into the neat wedges you’d expect from a great cheesecake.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • A “sheet” of graham crackers means a whole sheet of four perforated crackers. Four of these should yield about 1/2 cup of crumbs. To make this recipe gluten-free, use GF graham crackers.
  • Use good old blocks of cream cheese. (Two pounds is four eight-ounce blocks.) Don’t use whipped cream cheese or the softer kind that comes in tubs. It won’t yield the right consistency.
  • You can use frozen raspberries or fresh. I usually use frozen.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a beautiful raspberry lemon cheesecake. It takes a little advance prep, but it’s easier than you might think. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the details in the recipe card below.

making crust, mixing batter, and swirling raspberries
  1. To make the thin crust, spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of the pan. Crush the graham crackers into crumbs and pour them into the pan. Tilt and tap the pan around until it’s coated with crumbs. Then tap out any excess.
  2. Blend the raspberries and the two tablespoons of sugar together until smooth and strain the puree to remove all the seeds.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and gradually add the sugar, eggs, creams, and flavorings. You’ll mix until smooth and creamy without incorporating too much air.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust, pour on the raspberry puree, and swirl. Bake in a water bath (see recipe card for details) and then leave in the oven with the door ajar. Cool, then chill overnight. Your cheesecake is ready!

Expert tips and FAQs

What are the different styles of cheesecake?

People have a lot to say on this topic, and you can read a little bit about it here. This recipe is not strictly New York style — purists have strong opinions about what this style can and cannot be — but in my opinion it draws out the best features of New York Style cheesecake.

It’s dense, creamy, and delicately flavored, without a lot of hoopla, and clearly has its priorities in good order.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

Yes! Not only can you do so, but you must. Cheesecake has a bit of a long timeline. First, all the ingredients have to be at room temperature, so you’ll need to take them out of the fridge several hours before, if not the night before.

The baking process is fairly long, because the cake bakes for about an hour and then rests in the oven (turned off, with the door ajar) for another hour.

Then you’ll need to cool the cake completely, wrap it up, and chill it overnight before slicing and serving.

How do you mix cheesecake batter?

The key is to have all ingredients at room temperature so that they mix easily. After that it’s all about mixing well without incorporating excess air. Refer to the recipe card below for detailed instructions.

How do you slice cheesecake?

Use a big, sharp knife (I use a chef’s knife) and wipe it clean between cuts to get nice neat slices.

How long do leftovers keep?

You can store tightly covered leftovers in a nice cold fridge for up to a week.

Can I substitute other fruits?

Yes! Instead of raspberries, you could use an equal amount of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or cherries.

I consider lemon juice and zest to be integral to classic cheesecake, but you could play with swapping in Meyer lemon, lime, or orange if you like.

More favorite classic desserts

new york style raspberry lemon cheesecake

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4.52 from 230 votes

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Raspberry lemon cheesecake is sheer perfection. It's smooth and creamy, delicately flavored, and classic.
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total: 13 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12
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For the crust

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) salted butter
  • 4 sheets graham crackers, for 1/2 cup crumbs

For the raspberry swirl

  • 6 ounces (166 grams) raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar

For the filling

  • 2 pounds (907 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 ⅓ cups (266 grams) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  • Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center. 
  • Spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Crush the graham crackers into crumbs. You can do this in a sealed plastic bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the greased pan and tap to distribute them around the bottom and sides, forming a thin crust. Tap out any excess.
  • Place the raspberries and the two tablespoons of sugar into a blender and process until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all the seeds.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for 30 to 60 seconds, just until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour in the sugar little by little and beat until smooth and creamy, a minute or two.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the heavy cream, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat briefly, just until combined.
  • Pour creamy filling into crust.
  • Pour raspberry puree over creamy filling. Use a knife to swirl it into the top of the filling any way you like. (Refer to video for visual cues.)
  • Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with foil. Place the pan into a roasting pan or large baking dish. Position the pan on the center oven rack and then carefully pour boiling water into the outer roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the outsides of the cake are set and the center still jiggles when you move the pan.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar (you can use a utensil to prop it open). Let the cake rest in the oven for an hour.
  • Remove cake from oven and from water bath. Remove foil. Let cake cool completely in pan.
  • Cover cake and refrigerate overnight to chill through completely.
  • Carefully remove outer ring from cake and serve.


  1. Starting with all ingredients at room temperature is very important to achieve the creamiest result.
  2. A graham cracker sheet means a whole sheet of four perforated crackers.
  3. To make this recipe gluten-free, use GF graham crackers.
  4. Use the good old cream cheese that comes in 8-ounce blocks. Softer cream cheese in tubs or the whipped kind won’t work.
  5. Tightly covered leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to a week.
  6. This recipe is adapted from Joy of Cooking.


Serving: 1, Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 152mg, Sodium: 303mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.52 from 230 votes (229 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Carolyn!

    It was my first time making a cheesecake and everything that could have went wrong, went wrong but the cheesecake gods are forgiving and your recipe was soo good that I had the best dessert at Thanksgiving!! I visited your recipe again today to see if I make it for tonight’s potluck but it’ll need time overnight so I won’t attempt it again today; Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Carolyn…..This recipe is absolutely incredible! So incredible, my husband and daughter had me make 2 in one week! The sour cream and heavy cream makes it so incredibly creamy!
    I can’t say incredible enough! So this is my Christmas present to some of my favorite people.
    Thank you for your recipe! I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Happy Holidays, Jacki

    1. Hi Nicole, you can leave the pan as-is while chilling, until shortly before you’re ready to serve.

    1. Hi Alina, it’s a 9″ diameter springform pan, so that should be about 28″ (72 cm) circumference. Hope you love it!

    2. hi! i used cream cheese in tubs (not whipped) for the recipe before reading the notes. will it still work?
      thank you

      1. Hi Olivia, oof, I’m not sure. That type of cream cheese has a softer consistency with a higher water content, and really isn’t what’s called for in this recipe. You can rest assured that it will taste delicious, but the consistency might be too runny to really set into a sliceable consistency. Did you already bake it? If not I would recommend adding a couple more eggs to try to help it set.

  3. Just have to say I was craving lemon & raspberry dessert for Mother’s Day and my son volunteered to make this for me…and IT. WAS. DIVINE!!! Soooooo creamy and smooth, with just the right lemon taste. Thanks UMAMI girl!

  4. I just had a question, how far from the center is the cheesecake supposed to jiggle? if i already took it out of the waterbath and let it cool is it possible to bake it longer if its not fully baked yet?
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Mylinh, just a slight jiggle at the very center is what you’re looking for. It’s fine to return it to the oven if need be.

    1. Hi Marlene, I’m not an expert on sugar substitutes, but I imagine you could use a good-quality baking sugar alternative for half the sugar, as long as you’ve found that it behaves similarly to sugar in other recipes.

  5. Hi,

    Just a quick question before I make this please 🙂

    With the water bath, do i wrap the bottom of the cheesecake dish with tinfoil or do I just put the dish straight into the water bath?


    1. Hi Pearl, it’s best to wrap the whole pan, including the bottom and the sides, creating an extra layer of watertightness. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  6. Just one question. Can’t you get great results by just sitting the cheesecake on the rack with the hot water bath under it? My friend made this and it was excellent but I have done both ways and always hate messing with the hot water poured around the cheesecake. Such a hassle.
    Thank you. It is a very good cheesecake.

    1. Hi TG, thanks, glad you liked it. The purpose of the water bath directly surrounding the cheesecake is to diffuse the heat more evenly and create a gentler baking environment. That’s different from simply adding moisture by placing a pan of water underneath, as you might do to simulate a professional steam-injected bread oven at home. I imagine the additional moisture may help to some degree, but it’s not the whole shebang.

    2. I make this with the bowl of water next to it and it sets up amazingly well. I’m not too fond of the hassle of the water bath. I put an oven-safe bowl with about 2 cups of water next to the spring foam pan in the middle rack and have had excellent results

  7. I can’t find any reviews for this. I made it, followed the recipe and it didn’t set up. It tasted good but it was soft and runny, disappointing

    1. Hi Alison, I’m sorry to see that your cheesecake didn’t set properly. Happy to help you troubleshoot if you like — that should definitely not happen with this recipe. All my cheesecakes are variations on the same beloved base recipe that I’ve been using for decades. (Also, you’re right that no one has left a text-based review on this recipe yet, but it does have 122 ratings as of today, with an average of 4.5 stars.)

    2. Hi Alison,
      I used this recipe, and with the baking instructions ended up extending mine ~30-45min longer at 325F to achieve the “jiggly center with set sides” characteristic finished cheesecake look/feel. After cooling it overnight, we had a wonderful and delicious cheesecake! I’m guessing there are slight oven variations and potentially also the depth of the water bath that make the timing of things a bit tough to nail down. Thanks for the great recipe, Carolyn!